How a grandma with a bum hip sparked a shopping revolution

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Jane and Ned Snowball shopping online in 1984. Photo: Courtesy of the Aldrich Archive
Jane and Ned Snowball shopping online in 1984. Photo courtesy Aldrich Archive

A 72-year-old grandmother with a broken hip started the revolution with a television remote in her hand. She pointed it at the screen in her living room in 1984 and bought eggs, cornflakes and margarine.

Jane Snowball of Gateshead, England, spent a few pounds and became the first online shopper. In 2013, online shopping generated more than $1.2 trillion worldwide (with the promise of higher figures when 2014 numbers are reported).

Snowball did not use the computer as we know it. She used a device called Videotex, which merged media and business information systems and made them available to “outside correspondents.” She pressed a button on the remote with a phone icon and was able to connect to her local Tesco supermarket with a telephone number. The store received her list and delivered the items to her door.

How my iPhone and Twitter bought me a car

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It's a pretty sweet ride. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The Internet helped me land this Ford Escape. It's pretty sweet ride. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

When my 2001 Subaru Forester died on the side of the highway a week or so back, I was not excited about trying to find a replacement.

Buying a car is right up there with heading to the DMV, going to IKEA and attending your ex’s next wedding. It’s depressing. And inevitable. The load of anxiety-ridden, “hurry up and wait” BS that has marred my every interaction with car dealerships both new and used is overwhelming.

So it was with glee that I bypassed all that crap and used my iPhone, email and Twitter to buy myself a new car. Let me explain.

The Vaultskin Lexx Wallet Case For iPhone 5s/5: The Slim And Stylish Solution That Keeps Everything Together [Deals]

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Some people prefer to keep their phone unfettered with additional functionality. But for the pocket-space-optimizing pros out there…this is a dream come true.

Introducing the new Vaultskin Lexx Wallet Case for iPhone 5/5S. It’s a protective phone case, it’s a wallet, and it’s only $35.99 – including free shipping – during this very limited time offer.

iOS Kicks Android’s Shiny Metal Ass When It Comes To Mobile Shopping

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Apple wins this round.
Apple wins this round.

According to a new report from IBM, the greed consumer-driven shop-fest known as Black Friday.

The report shows a new high for online sales for this 2013 reporting period, as well as a soaring rate of mobile shopping, in which folks used smartphones to browse for deals while people were more likely to complete purchases with tablets.

The most interesting finding, however, was how much more iOS users spent than those on Android. Take that, Google!